Comparison of lifetime incremental cost:utility ratios of surgery relative to failed medical management for the treatment of hip, knee and spine osteoarthritis modelled using 2-year postsurgical values

Peggy Tso, Kevin Walker, Nizar Mahomed, Peter C Coyte, Y Raja Rampersaud
Canadian Journal of Surgery. Journal Canadien de Chirurgie 2012, 55 (3): 181-90

BACKGROUND: Demand for surgery to treat osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip, knee and spine has risen dramatically. Whereas total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) have been widely accepted as cost-effective, spine surgeries (decompression, decompression with fusion) to treat degenerative conditions remain underfunded compared with other surgeries.

METHODS: An incremental cost-utility analysis comparing decompression and decompression with fusion to THA and TKA, from the perspective of the provincial health insurance system, was based on an observational matched-cohort study of prospectively collected outcomes and retrospectively collected costs. Patient outcomes were measured using short-form (SF)-36 surveys over a 2-year follow-up period. Utility was modelled over the lifetime, and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were determined. We calculated the incremental cost per QALY gained by estimating mean incremental lifetime costs and QALYs of surgery compared with medical management of each diagnosis group after discounting costs and QALYs at 3%. Sensitivity analyses were also conducted.

RESULTS: The lifetime incremental cost:utility ratios (ICURs) discounted at 3% were $5321 per QALY for THA, $11,275 per QALY for TKA, $2307 per QALY for spinal decompression and $7153 per QALY for spinal decompression with fusion. The sensitivity analyses did not alter the ranking of the lifetime ICURs.

CONCLUSION: In appropriately selected patients with leg-dominant symptoms secondary to focal lumbar spinal stenosis who have failed medical management, the lifetime ICUR for surgical treatment of.

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